PARIS, June 14 (Reuters) – French grain group Soufflet will build a malting factory in Ethiopia, its first project in Africa, with an initial production target of 60,000 tonnes, the company said on Thursday.
Soufflet Malteries is one of the world’s largest malt makers along with fellow French cooperative group Axereal, which announced last year it was also building a malt processing factory in the eastern African country.
“By setting a first foot in Africa, this ambitious project is fully in line with the strategy of Malteries Soufflet to develop activities outside Europe which already include Brazil, Argentina and India,” the company said in a statement.
Ethiopia is the largest barley producer in Africa and the fourth largest beer maker on the continent, where the market is fast expanding. Still, 70 percent of its malt needs are imported, Soufflet Malteries said.
The plant, due to be located near Addis Ababa, close to many of the barley fields in the country, is expected to start in 2020.
A trading unit that will deal directly with barley growers will start as soon as this year, the privately-owned company said.
Financial details of the investments were not disclosed. (Reporting by Valerie Parent, Writing by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Mark Potter)